I voted Saturday – an annual act of civic participation that reminded me of the bond so many Americans share in getting to the voting booth.
My family’s experience on the first day of early voting in Massachusetts was not like that of many of the 28 million people who have broken voting records this fall. We didn’t, for example, have to show up at 2:45 a.m. to beat long lines – the choice 79-year-old Maxine Shelby and her niece made Saturday in Marrero, Louisiana, after Ms. Shelby’s daughter endured a seven-hour wait Friday. Some queues were easily explained: In Boston, the opportunity to vote at historic Fenway Park proved a strong lure. But in Georgia, the impact of a dearth of polling places – which did not keep pace with surging voter registration – was hard to countenance.
Still, we witnessed, as so many people have, the reliable calm of the poll workers, the applause for young citizens casting their first presidential votes, the friendly nods as ballots drop into the collection box. Across the nation, groups like Pizza to the Polls or Chefs for the Polls have stepped up to nourish weary voters and hard-working volunteers. And I couldn’t help but be struck by how, in an indisputably challenging year, a powerful lot of patience and strong spirit is on display as Americans show their commitment to making their voices heard.